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Slowly but surely the 2016 vintage from the Northern Rhone Valley is making its way to our Canadian shores. Although not as rich as the 2015, the current offering is all about freshness and elegance.

J.L Chave is a name that does not need introductions here. Everybody that knows a thing or two about fine French wine has heard about him. I am certainly familiar with his wines since my introduction to Hermitage was with him. Wine growers in the northern Rhône since 1491, the Chave family (currently represented by Gérard and son Jean-Louis) represents 16 generations of a committed family saga to the production of some of the finest Syrah, Marsanne, and Roussanne wines on this world

What some winelovers may not know is that the family has a negociant wine business on the ise. For a modest price, you can taste the savoir-faire of the family.

“Silène” Crozes-Hermitage is 50% family Syrah and 50% purchased. Like all things Chave, the quality bar is high even at the entry level.

It is often said that Crozes-Hermitage is a meager expression of Hermitage but there is nothing poor about this wine. While the 2015 was richer and decadent with the 2016, Silène returns to the classic character of the appellation.

Bright aromas of anis, dill with violet and lavender character. Classical Northern Rhone Syrah flavours of bacon, cherry and raspberry.Polished with a juicy acidity and a long lingering finale.

I highly recommend to buy this wine. Available at the SAQ (12950281) for $31.50.